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Asian students lead the way in STEM careers

by Guest Blogger 30. October 2009 14:25

Contrary to popular perception, science and engineering are not the exclusive preserve of ageing white men. In fact, as I learnt recently, students of Asian backgrounds contribute disproportionately to the country’s science, technology and engineering workforce.*

A couple of weeks ago, I was kindly invited on to Kaval Vaseer’s Dhamaka show on BBC Radio Nottingham to talk about our Year in Industry Scheme, and ethnic minorities in STEM. I had assumed in the run up to the show, as I’m sure many people do, that ethnic minorities were underrepresented in STEM, and while that is true for certain populations, in most cases Asian communities are particularly successful at producing STEM professionals.

According to a Royal Society report published in 2005, Asian students were considerably more likely to study science, engineering or technology subjects at university than their white counterparts. Students from Indian backgrounds for example are more than twice as likely as the population as a whole to be studying a STEM related subject at University.

Joining me on the show and speaking eloquently about why he decided to do a gap year placement with Year in Industry was Tanvir Saini, one of our current students from the Univeristy of Nottingham who is doing his placement at Radius Systems.

We have had a long history of successful Year in Industry students from ethnic minority backgrounds including one of this year’s regional winner’s Shaahid Ismail. This year around 18% of our regional students are from ethnic minority backgrounds, considerably higher than would be representative of the population. Even more impressively, 2 out of our 9 national finalists this year were of Asian descent. Our national finalists are those students who make particularly impressive contributions to their placement companies, so in our experience Asian students are excelling in STEM careers.

For more information on the year in industry scheme, please visit our website:

www.yini.org.uk

*http://royalsociety.org/downloaddoc.asp?id=1870

Guest Blogger: Geoff Jellis, EDT

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The views expressed in this Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the East Midlands STEM Partnership, its partners or funders, including East Midlands Development Agency.

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